The Strong Silent Type: The Contradictions Of Being An Introverted Man

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Friends We Grew Up With

friends

1. The Almighty

The class queen, who had that special center seat at the usual canteen bench. She never walked around alone; always surrounded with people. She never has to get her own lunch because someone else would offer to get it for her. She knows everyone, including you, but sometimes you’d wonder what goes behind that smile. Everyone wants to be her friend, because it’s cool. Befriending her is a must, else risk sparking controversy.

2. The Indifferent

The Inert, and the immensely stable. To them, social pressure is a myth. They stand their ground, hardly swayed by opinions about them or others. They don’t subscribe to what’s popular just because it is, and they dare to go against the flow. They are not quite concerned if they have 5 or 5,000 friends on Facebook, if they even have an account to begin with. The world is their playground, and they shape it exactly how they want it to be.

3. The Princess

Anything and everything can be too hard. They’d rather spend three hours on a manicure than an hour in the gym. Nothing should be done alone, companions are always necessary. Fragility is always displayed because it is an ideal feminine trait. The sun equates to sweating and sweating is unacceptable. Seat priority should be given; ladies should go first. Hardship has never and will never be part of their history.

4. The Unpopular

The prime target for bullying stints, the laughing stock of the parade. No one wants to be associated with them. Nothing they do will ever and should ever look cool. They are looked upon with judgmental eyes and condescending stares. They cannot be allowed to fit in. You wonder who labelled them as unpopular in the first place; somehow everyone just knows that’s the unwelcomed kid on the block.

5. The Geek

The cerebral and intellectual whose mind processes logic and details seemingly ten times faster than the average individual. Nothing is too hard to understand; math is always easy. Decisions should be based on consistent logic; emotions are a waste of time. Quantum physics is amazing.

6. The Happy Pill

Nothing can quite bring them down or spoil their day. There’s always a silver lining, and a bright side to everything. They focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, not the darkness in between. They genuinely see good in people. They give the benefit of the doubt. There’s always better tomorrows and happier days. They carry an air of positive vibes wherever they go. Smiling is default; frowning is non-existent.

7. The Magnanimous

It is always others before self. There is no such thing is giving too much because giving is the only way to receive. They’d rather give away their lunch boxes than see a friend go without recess; they’d have no qualms in standing up for others when in need. They’d never reject your request for a talk on the phone, and they’d listen to you pour out your soul for hours so that you’d feel feel better. Their quality of life hinges on the well-being of others. They give relentlessly.

The Unkeepable & The Unthrowable

There are things in life that fall into this bucket.

You don’t want to keep them because maybe they make you upset, angry or turn you into a monster of emotions that you can’t quite put into words. These things are the black sheep of your history, the scars of your wars, the nightmares that haunt you.

Yet, you can’t throw them away. They don’t quite come in a physical form that you can stuff into a trash bag and dispose of. They are like speckles of dust, small enough to consciously ignore but significant enough to remind you of their existence. They may settle temporarily in the corners of your mind but a little trigger could cloud up your rationality and create a mess. Lingering fragmented bits that you can never rid of.

And I wonder, what do you do with these things?

I had always imagined our minds to be like storage warehouses, filled with boxes of all shapes and sizes. There’s one for work, one for family. One for friends, and one for enemies. One for general knowledge, and one for lyrics. One for faces, and one for voices. There is one that keeps our secrets, and one that keeps our thoughts. Some boxes are carefully sealed, labelled and shoved to the furthest corners of our memories. Some are left open, with their lids lost – or maybe they never had one in the first place. Their contents spill out once in a while and we try with great haste to put them back in. Some boxes are just too small; contents grow so rapidly that we struggle to keep them in place. And sometimes, we just decide to let things swell and grow and flood our space. We’d feel overwhelmed.

What kind of box do we keep the Unkeepable and the Unthrowable? Seal them up, like an artificial vacuum void of air? Perhaps they’d stop unsettling. Mix them up with another box in hope that chaos breeds distraction from remembering? Keep them in layers of boxes so that they will never overflow? Stack them underneath bigger, heavier and more important ones in hope that the weight keeps them buried below?

Or maybe, they don’t even deserve a box in the first place. I still don’t quite know.